Studio: international art — 11.1897

Page: 101
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George Chester


efforts was established the reputation of this country and the sounder beliefs of these masters were

as the home of a type of art which was at the time abandoned for a more artificial and mannered

of its creation practically unique, a type which has method of interpreting Nature,
since been accepted in many other parts of the world It is because the artistic point of view underwent

as a pattern worthy of the sincerest imitation. To this marked change that the position held by Mr.

the influence of this school is certainly to be George Chester, whose death was recorded at the

ascribed the growth of another school, that of the beginning of June, is so particularly interesting. To

French Romanticists, which has left in the history him belongs the distinction of having, practically

of art a mark that nothing can ever efface. unsupported, maintained till the present day all

The period during which this signal demonstra- that was best in the methods of the great masters

tion of the vitality of the British school endured of landscape in the past. He bridged over, by a

was exactly half a century, from 1800 to 185c. At succession of noble canvases, the interval between

its outset Gainsborough and Richard Wilson were the magnificent achievements of Turner, Constable,

already but memories, and George Morland, whose and Cox, and the efforts of the present day, when

admirable landscapes foreshadowed the work which at last signs are seen of a revival of the wholesome

was to follow, was practically at the end of his romanticism which was the dominant characteristic

career. Turner was already known, and was com- of our school at its best. He was born in 1813, in

mencing to make his way to the front, but he stood the very midst of the triumphs of the men whom

almost alone. In 1800, however, J. S. Cotman we justly regard as chief among the founders of our

first appeared as an exhibitor ; Constable in 1802 ; modern art. Turner, at the time, was supreme, an

David Cox in 1805 ; Crome in 1806 ; and De Wint exhibitor of nearly thirty years' standing, and yet far

in 1807 ; and they were followed within a few years from those darker days when his powers began to

by Clarkson Stanfield, Miiller, George Cole, and show sad signs of waning. David Cox had estab-

Henry Dawson. By 1850, however, this phalanx lished his reputation by some ten years of exhibit-

of admirable artists was almost entirely broken up; ing ; Constable had reached the period of his fullest

and hardly any one remained to carry on the work maturity; and Cotman, Crome, and De Wint were

which they had begun. Landscape of another in the first tide of artistic success. It was natural

sort, less simple and direct, began to be fashionable; that George Chester, growing up amid surroundings

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